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Interstellar Review: It’s Stellar
What do Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway, and a budget of 165 million dollars bring to the Sci-Fi fantasy genre? Box office gold and a genius script, especially with Christopher Nolan sitting in the director’s chair. Interstellar mixes reality with science fiction, it takes your mind on a journey through a realistic space adventure, with no lasers, no warp drive, and no space aliens.
Interstellar is definitely a thinking man’s movie, from the very beginning it shows how the Earth is becoming a desolate wasteland and is turning into a dust bowl as crop blight has caused civilization to regress into a failing Agrarian society. Former NASA pilot Cooper (played by McConaughey) runs a corn farm with his father-in-law Donald, his son Tom and his daughter, Murphy. Murphy believes her room is haunted by a ghost that is trying to communicate with her by sending her signals in gravitational waves and binary in the dust. Murphy and Cooper figure out that the codes the ghost is leaving actually are co-ordinates to a secret NASA installation led by Professor John Brand, portrayed excellently by Michael Caine. Brand tells Cooper that there’s a wormhole by Saturn created by advanced beings, which leads to new planets orbiting (yes orbiting) around a giant black hole, but never-the-less, this is a chance for humanities’ survival. There have been missions to these planets before; NASA’s “Lazarus Missions” have identified three potentially habitable planets orbiting this giant black hole called properly named “Gargantua.” Brand convinces Cooper to pilot the spacecraft Endurance on this dangerous mission to the unknown, but doing so he will mean he has to leave his family behind and he may never see them again.
This is a solid beginning to the plot, you understand why this mission is happening, it’s not just for the exploration, it’s to save humanity. You have a sense that you are humanities last hope. You are told what this wormhole is and how it got there, it didn’t just appear, and it is a logical reason for a Sci-Fi thriller. You develop feelings with Murphy as she has to part ways with her father whom she loves unconditionally and you begin to realize how dangerous this mission is. One gripe I had was how does a retired NASA pilot get recruited to go into deep space, uncharted territory, without any basic training? One moment he is on the ground, next moment he is in the pilot seat for Earth’s last hope. I felt like they left a scene out it was so abrupt and random. It really felt out of place for a movie that was flowing so well up until that point.
On Endurance Cooper meets Brand’s daughter, biologist Amelia (played by Anne Hathaway), Scientist Romilly and Doyle and TARS, an advanced robot whose witty banter with Cooper is a welcoming comic relief for this stressful, pulse-pounding movie. Once they reach the wormhole, they visit the first planet, Miller, named after the first astronaut to explore it. Cooper and the crew aboard the Endurance soon realize that this planet is so close to Gargantua, that they will experience gravitational time dilatation: for every hour spent on the planet Miller, 7 years pass on Earth. They descend onto the planet and notice what appears to be mountains in the background as they land. This earth is uninhabitable, as it is covered by a shallow ocean, and the mountains in the background, are massive tsunamis. As Amelia attempts to recover Miller’s data, a tsunami hits, killing Doyle, almost killing Amelia, who survives thanks to TARS, and delaying take-off from the planet. When Cooper and Amelia return to the Endurance, 23 years have passed.
This part of Interstellar is definitely strange, because they are only on that planet for what seemed to me like 20 minutes tops, but apparently were on the planet for over 3 hours. There is no part in the plot that suggests they were on this planet for such a lengthy period of time, so when you realize that they were there for over 3 hours, you question how and wonder if you missed anything. Again, it takes you out of the stressful and tense moment which that scene depicts so well.
Back on Earth, Murphy, who is now a NASA Scientist, is assisting Brand with his equation that will enable NASA to launch space exploration odysseys via Gravity (Not the Sandra Bullock movie). On Brand’s deathbed he admits to Murphy that he figured out this equation long ago, but deemed it impossible; he covered up his findings and put his faith in “Plan B.” This involves using fertilized embryos to start humanity anew. However, Murphy concluded that Brand’s equation could work with additional data from a black hole’s singularity.
Returning to the Endurance, the crew only has enough fuel to reach one more planet before returning back to Earth. It’s between Edmund’s planet or Mann’s planet, and here is one part where the plot is transparent, obviously whichever one they go to now, will not be the habitable planet. Anyways the team votes for Mann’s planet since it’s the only one still transmitting data. However when they land they realize it’s a frozen wasteland, almost like Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mann (played by Matt Damon, which is always exciting), reveals that he knew Plan B was the mission’s goal all along and there was no returning to Earth, he faked data about his planet’s viability so the Endurance would rescue him. In the climax of the movie, Mann breaks Cooper’s spacesuit visor and leaves him to die since the atmosphere is mainly chlorine gas; Romilly dies when Mann triggers a bomb set to protect his secret. Mann flees to Endurance on a shuttle, intending to proceed with Plan B on Edmunds’ world. Amelia rescues Cooper on the other shuttle and they arrive at Endurance in time to witness Mann docking improperly. The airlock explodes, killing Mann and causing serious damage, but Cooper uses the shuttle to get Endurance under control.
This part of Interstellar, is very tense, palm sweating tense, you don’t know what will happen next. It’s very well-paced, very well scripted and very well shot. When Cooper is lying on a glacier, gasping for a breath of oxygen, you’re holding your breath, since you don’t know how long he has nor if Amelia will save him or not. Knowing Mann is getting away and will jeopardize the mission just adds more thrill and excitement
Nearly out of fuel, Cooper and Amelia slingshot the Endurance around Gargantua (which would not work, as the space shuttle would rip apart with the difference of gravity.) TARS and Cooper detach into the black hole, hoping to collect data on the singularity and propel Amelia to Edmund’s planet, at the cost of their lives.
Here is where everything in Interstellar comes together, I mean everything makes sense.
Cooper emerges in the 5th dimension known as the “tesseract” where time is a spacial dimension. There are portals, showing glimpses of Murphy’s childhood bedroom at different points of time. Cooper then realizes that the wormhole and this 5th dimension were actually created by a future form of humanity, who created the tesseract so Cooper can communicate with Murphy as the “ghos” to save humanity. Using gravitational waves and a watch, he transmits TARS’ data through Morse code, allowing Murphy to solve Brand’s equation. Talk about a plot twist.
Years later, Cooper awakes on NASA’s space habitat and reunites with an elderly Murphy, who saved humanity thanks to Cooper and she advises him and TARS to search for Amelia, who has begun work on Edmund’s planet.
Interstellar is a fantastic, well done Sci-Fi adventure film that comes to full circle. It ties up all loose ends with that “ohh” moment, and it is superb. Interstellar combines pulse pounding action with suspense, comedy, and moments of introspection for both the characters and the audience. The muting the audio while in space is something I haven’t seen or heard before. It shocked my senses, but put me in a sense of how dangerous and scary space is; there is no sound, it’s dead quiet. Acting was above and beyond, and this coming from a guy who cannot stand Anne Hathaway. Christopher Nolan made it work. Even though they broke the laws of physics many times in this movie, Interstellar all in all, is one of the best movies I’ve seen, it’s definitely not your typical space adventure movie, it’s something much more. I’d give Interstellar a solid 9/10 but it loses points for wooden acting at times, and jumping to points just to advance the plot quicker, meaning it comes in at a 7/10. Interstellar is a must see movie, especially if you’re a Christopher Nolan fan.